Thursday, December 24, 2009

Season's Greetings

Each little place has its own beautiful holiday traditions. Traveling halfway across the country (top to bottom, at least, not right to left!) is a taxing way to spend Christmas for a vast myriad of reasons, but one of the happiest things about it is that we get to fit ourselves into the festivities of both our own hometown and that of my parents.

For Bloomington, of course, there was the lighting ceremony on the courthouse square the day after Thanksgiving, and this year we'll be back in time for the big New Year's Eve countdown to noon at the Children's Museum. Holiday Trainland at the zoo was inexplicably absent this year, which is a big boo, since it was my favorite thing to do, hands down.

Ft. Smith, Arkansas, on the other hand, with half its residents NOT composed of university students, has WAY more and more elaborate Christmas lights, with the snowflakes down Garrison being especially nice, and it has the huge light display and Christmas train at Creekmore park.

Yep, an honest-to-god train!

Creekmore Park has one of those old-school ride-on trains, complete with conducter and bridges and lights and whistle, that runs around a large section of the park. For Christmas, this section of the park is also decorated to high heaven with various scenes chock-full of twinkle lights, The Twelve Days of Christmas and Santa on an Airplane and Dinosaurs in Santa Hats, etc. Every night in the lead-up to Christmas you can stand in a really long line in the dark and then ride the train and enjoy the lights:
Unfortunately, the night was too dark and the train moving too fast for any of my photos to come out well. But even though this one is blurry, I still think you get the idea:Of course, today is Christmas Eve. But don't worry--it's 11:00 am local time, and we've already been to Wal-mart (it's an unwritten rule that when you live in Arkansas, you pretty much end up going to Wal-mart every single day), where I bought a small set of acrylic paints to use with a kit the girls received for Christmas last night (yes, I upgraded the art supplies that came with the kit--those paints were already half-dried out!), and my mother bought a Playstation 3 for Matt and a bunch of crap for the girls; and Harp's, where Matt bought an orange for each of the girl's stockings and my mother bought three dozen rolls for Christmas dinner.

Future plans for the day include: vacuuming; sneaking out to watch Avatar without the little lichens; painting the craft kit; baking cookies for Santa (who wants gingerbread, and also sugar cookies with crushed Butterfingers); re-reading 'Twas the Night Before Christmas for the billionth time this month, but with extra emphasis; putting the girls to bed with a chapter from some interminably long Magic Schoolbus dinosaur chapter book; and then watching Get Smart from Netflix while Matt assembles the two bicycles that my mother bought for the girls.

And also he'll probably swear a lot.

P.S. It turns out that Papa has been secretly dyeing his dressing yellow with food coloring each year. We only know this because Papa just finished mixing up said dressing, and he's very upset because it seems that he accidentally chose the wrong color from the box this year--pink.


Anonymous said...

Will you post a photo of the pink stuffing? :>

Mo Tucky said...

What would Oprah do? Certainly she goes to Wal-mart every day... and she certainly wouldn't go see Avatar. I hope you chose to see Precious instead.

Please give Fort Smith a kiss from me. I miss her terribly and can't wait to cruise down Zero in a T-top with you soon. I'd even settle for a walk down Louisville Street.

cake said...

the daily walmart ritual is required in texas, too.

so, is it stuffing, or dressing, or, well, like, SALAD dressing? i'm having trouble picturing this.

julie said...

It's DRESSING, because it doesn't go in the bird, and also, you know, because it's the south. I WILL post a photo tomorrow, because it was absurdly pink.

Of course, by the time the guests arrived on Christmas, Papa had concocted this story that he'd dyed the dressing "red" on purpose to be festive, but y'all know the truth.

Mo Tucky--Aunt Pam once took me and my entire slumber party crew cruising down Grand in an old-school hard-core van. It RULED!